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Critical realism, empirical methods and inference: a critical discussion

By P. Downward, J.H. Finch and J. Ramsay


This paper reviews the critical realist critique of the methods of analysis adopted in neoclassical research and argues that there is scope for clearer guidance for economics researchers who wish to pursue empirical research in the critical realist tradition. It is argued that critical realist epistemology, derived from its open‐systems ontology, is unnecessarily dismissive in rejecting research methods that draw inferences from stable empirical regularities and patterns. The argument draws upon Keynes's philosophical explanations of decision‐making and probability, on behavioural and institutional explanations of emerging and stable institutions, and on inductive research techniques such as grounded theory, to establish a role for a plurality of quantitative and qualitative approaches to critical realist research

Publisher: 'Oxford University Press (OUP)'
Year: 2002
DOI identifier: 10.1093/cje/26.4.481
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Provided by: Enlighten
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